Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) / AN/SPY-6

Systems: ,

AMDRThe Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR), also known as the SPY-6 is a next-generation integrated radar providing both exoatmospheric and air defense, and surface warfare capabilities on U.S. surface ships.1 These radars will be featured on the Flight III Arleigh Burke Guided Missiles Destroyers and that will include an active electrically scanned array (AESA) that are slated to be 30 times more powerful than the current SPY-1 radar. The final Aegis ship ordered in FY2016 will be the first Flight III built and the first to deploy the AMDR.2

The SPY-6 radar will also enable digital beam forming, allowing more precise tracking and the potential to execute electronic attacks.3

The AMDR consists of an S-band AESA radar for air and missile defense, an X-band radar for horizon search, and a command and control integration center.4 The AMDR is the first radar built with Radar Modular Assemblies (RMA) building blocks, which allows for the radar to be scaled smaller or larger. The system’s Radar Modular Assemble (RMA) are 2’ x 2’ x 2’ radars that are scalable and will be able to fit different ships according to their mission. RMA blocks will use gallium nitride (GaN) which need less space, power, and cooling.5 The AMDR will be 30 times more sensitive than currently fielded radars on the Arleigh Burke Destroyers and can handle over 30 times the targets of the SPY-1.6

The AMDR may also have offensive capabilities, including the ability to perform electronic attacks with its active electronically scanned array (AESA) antenna. The ASEA array could attack airborne or surface targets by using “tightly directed beams of high-powered radio waves” that could blind adversaries’ assets.7

The Presidential Budget justification for 2011 detailed that:

AMDR will provide multi-mission capabilities, simultaneously supporting both long range, exoatmospheric detection, tracking and discrimination of ballistic missiles, as well as Area and Self Defense against air and surface threats. For the Ballistic Missile Defense capability, increased radar sensitivity and bandwidth over current radar systems are needed to detect, track and support engagements of advanced ballistic missile threats at the required ranges, concurrent with Area and Self Defense against Air and Surface threats. For the Area Air Defense and Self Defense capability, increased sensitivity and clutter capability is needed to detect, react to, and engage stressing Very Low Observable/Very Low Flyer (VLO/VLF) threats in the presence of heavy land, sea, and rain clutter.8

In 2013, the Missile Defense Agency awarded a $385.7 million cost-plus contract to develop the radar.[ Tamir Eshel, “Raytheon’s next generation naval radar passes milestone.”] The first SPY-6 was delivered in July 2016 and is currently installed at the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii. The system is expected to undergo field testing with expected full delivery and deployment on DDG-51 Flight III destroyers starting in 2019.9

    1. Raytheon Corporation, “AN/SPY-6(V) Prepares for Live Target Testing,” ASDNews, July 7, 2016, & U.S. Navy Fact File, “Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR),” May 19, 2016,
    2. Sam LeGrone, “Stackley: Arleigh Burke Flight III Destroyer, Air Missile Defense Radar Development On Track,” USNI News, April 7, 2016,
    3. Dave Majumdar, “Raytheon Enters New Phase of Next Generation Radar Development,” USNI News, July 24, 2014,
    4. U.S. Navy Fact File, “Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR).”
    5. “Raytheon delivers first SPY-6(V) air and missile defence radar to US Navy,” Naval Technology, July 11, 2016,
    6. Tamir Eshel, “Raytheon’s next generation naval radar passes milestone,” Defense Update, May 12, 2015,
    7. “Raytheon delivers first SPY-6(V) air and missile defence radar to US Navy,” Naval Technology.
    8. U.S. Navy, Presidential Budget (PB) 2011: Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Budget Item Justification, Advanced Above Water Sensors, Exhibit R-2, February 2010,
    9. “Raytheon delivers first SPY-6(V) air and missile defence radar to US Navy,” Naval Technology.